I do not know how to be alone with myself. I do not know how to pursue solitude but I know it is a sacrament worthy of the people I love and admire most and I wish I knew their strength.

I have spoken and written extensively on the value of community but in truth much of that comes from my fear of solitude. I wanted to write about solitude but I am so poor at it I leave the rest of this post to those who know its value better than I.

“As soon as we are alone–…inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Making All Things New and Other Classics

“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” – Aldous Huxley

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”

(Audrey Hepburn: Many-Sided Charmer, LIFE Magazine, December 7, 1953)

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”[The Minotaur]” ― Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

“I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

“Solitude was my only consolation – deep, dark, deathlike solitude.”
― Mary Shelley

“I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don’t get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next. ”
― Henry David Thoreau

“The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:15-16

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.” – Matthew 14:22-24